Beyond Day Six
My sometimes-daily blog of a photograph or two with a few words, celebrating all the days of life that flow through creation into perspiration, inspiration, reflection, sabbath, and resurrection.
I'm ready, too. Covid and cancer has limited our travel. But we are fully vaccinated, including boosters, and there's no evidence of cancer in my recent PET scan. I continue to be amazed that the lymphoma is gone. The chemo and radiation was a lengthy, tiring treatment, but apparently it worked. I will continue to have alternating PET and CT scans and blood tests every quarter for the next two years, but it looks like I am cured. So I am trying to regain strength and lose weight after treatment. Normalcy is returning. Not quite the same normal as before. I'm changed, different, as are so many experiences. But I am more than ready to explore again, embrace life and friends again.
I caught this bee in mid-takeoff the other morning on one of my walks with my my iPhone 12 Pro Max. Surprised at the quality of the image.
After yesterday's lament for a longer summer, I read an article in the Washington Post entitled "Our Summers Are Getting Longer, And It Could Be a Bad Sign for the Environment". I admit that I was being self-centered about wanting more days to swim in my pool. I tried to justify that it would help my recovery from cancer treatments. However, I don't want my desire for more summer days to contribute to global warming. I know I have enough bad habits, coupled with millions of other inhabitants of earth, that have already adversely affected the environment. The Washington Post article, written by Kasha Patel, noted that "summers are expanding while spring, autumn, and winter are becoming shorter and warmer..." Researchers have found by studying historical data that spring is beginning earlier and autumn later. The problem is that " small seasonal shifts can throw off the balance of our ecosystem form crop production to increased occurrence of mosquito-borne diseases." With my experience of being mosquito "bait", that sentence got my attention. What we are losing is the predictability of the seasons and the connectedness of our human experiences with plants and animals and other creatures, like bees, that benefit the quality of our lives.
So I take back my desire for more summer, with all of its creeping effects, like the image above. Our seasons are not just an opportunity for change to warmer clothing and appreciation for cider and pumpkins, but are an essential cycle. We all can live with that.
Autumn begins today, but I could use a little more summer. I had just begun to regain some strength after my cancer treatments. I was swimming 2/3 of a mile per day and walking more than a mile. I could use a little more summer, please.
My last swimming day was September 16 which is early for the Hideaway. Two years ago my last swimming day outdoors was October 5. I need some more summer. My recovery is just getting started and more summer would help.
I admit that I like autumn as do so many others. A woman who had her wagon filled with fall plants and decorations at Fast's Greenery told me she had taken the day off from work so she could get started on autumn. I understand that. I love fall color and cooler temperatures. I hope to travel some after my oncologist gives me good news on Monday. Fall can be wonderful!
I just wasn't finished with summer. Mine was too short. My summer didn't really start until mid-August with my recovery. Sure, autumn will be great, and I will get stronger each day. I'd just like some more summer.
August was a wet month. On the very last day of the month, the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped more than 3 3/4 inches on the Hideaway. August ended as it had begun with a day of rain on the 1st totaling 4 1/2 inches. More than 11 inches of rain for the month.
Our neighbor, Mr. Do, stopped to talk while we were gardening the next day. His two dogs were missing. They get out of his fenced-in yard occasionally, but they never venture far. He asked Judy to check on the internet, and a short time later she saw the dogs picture on Next Door Neighbor. Someone had found the dogs on the road west of us. A quick reunion occurred as the finder returned the lost dogs.
The next day, Mr. Do rang our doorbell and had a huge basket with potatoes, twice the amount in the photo above, to thank Judy for her help in finding the dogs. Because of the Afghan airlift that shared the news with Ida, I asked if Mr. Do had come to the US at the fall of Saigon. No, he had worked with the CIA for 10 years because he knew the Laotian, Thai, and Vietnamese. They taught him English. He, his wife, and one year-old son was flew out of the country about 6 weeks before the end of the war. He spent 15 minutes telling us of his experience in settling here and the challenges that he faced. Quite a story. My neighbors have stories of being refugees. My Kurdish neighbor, Gelil, spent three years in a tent with his family in a refugee camp in Turkey before they all were loaded into a truck for an all day journey to an airport. My Laotian neighbor escaped the communists by paddling across the Mekong River in the middle of the night during a driving rainstorm. I have received generosity and hospitality from each of them. My neighborhood is more like the real USA than any place I have ever lived. What a blessing it is to hear their stories about why they are Americans.
I hate this sign because I don't like the words or the meaning behind the words. I am tempted to vandalism.
Someday I will attack! I've thought about it entirely for too long because I know what I will do: Change the "D" to an "R" and the "E" to an "O" so that "DEAD" becomes "ROAD". and add an "S" to "END". Road Ends. Waller Road is a cul-de-sac just beyond our driveway. The road ends, there is no outlet, turn around. We don't live on a dead end!
I'm having the same problem with my treatments now that I'm done. I'm not finished for I have more scans at the end of September and another appointment with my oncologist at which I presume I will receive an outline of my after-care. I know from previous conversations that I will meet with my oncologist every three months for the next two years, with additional scans. So I'm done, but I'm not done.
And my wondering about words was even stimulated about the discussion in Sunday School about "pilgrimage". Who goes on a pilgrimage and for what purpose? Doesn't it have to be an intentional choice? Does there have to be a destination? My experience with my cancer was not a pilgrimage, although I may have grown spiritually. I'm just wondering.
This yellow tiger swallowtail was sampling blossom after blossom on the "Carol Sing" daylily clump that is blooming near one of the hummingbird feeders. The late afternoon sunlight illuminated the butterfly's wings as it fluttered from one flower to another. Of course, I had to get my camera. I noticed that this butterfly was not one of the fresh, perfect, newly hatched ones. This butterfly is mature. The color of the wings has faded. And the wings are thinner, more translucent. I suspect the days of this butterfly are numbered. But it hasn't quit. Neither shall I.
The final radiation treatment is today! Five months ago to the day I had an endoscopy performed, oblivious that I had a stomach ulcer nor that I had Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. This past week of radiation treatments has affected me with lots of fatigue, to a surprising degree. I have also noticed the need to have small meals because of the radiation to my stomach.
But my hair is beginning to grow again. I have appointments in two weeks with my oncologist and my urologist. Hopefully, I will hear good news from each of these doctors. I am ready to focus on regaining strength and health. I so appreciate the encouragement and prayers of so many.
This daylily's last bloom was Monday. It's called The Anniversary Pearl. I'm celebrating that this part of my journey is complete. And I will be thrilled when the radiation techs take all those target stickers off my body! I will not miss those. Now when can I get this infusion port removed?
My tenth radiation treatment is late in the afternoon today, the only time that it wasn't scheduled in the morning. When I asked why, I learned that most of the day would be taken for the treatment of a child. Cancer is a challenge at any age, but it grieves me that it strikes children.
The journey has been difficult for me but I have asked questions, done research, listened to others who went on the journey before me, and relied on family and friends for support and prayers. I have a lifetime of experience. Still, it has been scary at moments.
The team that has been treating me will turn their attention today to a child who needs even more care and expertise. Blessings upon them. They exude confidence. They want to heal everyone. At any age.
Autumn Minaret used to be our last daylily to bloom during the season. And usually by that point I was weary of photographing the daylilies. But we have purchased additional daylilies that bloom late and we are still waiting on Carol Sing to begin blooming. Autumn Minaret is a Stout Award winner in 1951, the highest award for daylilies. It's been around a long time, almost as long as me! Hopefully, both of us will be blooming into the next decade or more! My ninth radiation treatment is today, 60% complete. Getting closer!
The scapes (bud stalks) are nearly five feet tall! I took one with a watercolor effect. I like them both. I too am stretching.
Veterans of radiation had told me that the fatigue effects of radiation built with the number of treatments. Yep, they are right. I didn't have a treatment today (Saturday), but I am definitely more fatigued today than I was earlier in the week and certainly from last Saturday. I'm nearing five months of cancer treatment and I am truly tired of fatigue. Seven more radiation treatments and then, hopefully, I'm done. I'm ready to rebuild strength and endurance. If it sounds like I want to turn back the clock, I do. I want to turn back the last two years. But that ain't the way it works.
Truth is, treatment is about done. I see it on my calendar. I'm ready.
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© Day Six Pix, The Photography of John Hartleroad